OTTAWA — On March 22, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, announced the Government House Leader has asked the Speaker of the House of Commons to recall the House in order to introduce urgent economic measures as part of Canada’s $82- billion response to support workers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The House is expected to meet on March 24.
“We have to take immediate action to address the global COVID-19 pandemic and Canadians are counting on all parliamentarians to work together to help them during this difficult time,” said Trudeau. “Canadians are worried about their health and their jobs and we need everyone to come together and do their part. I know this is a challenging time, but we will get through this crisis.”
The Government of Canada is also calling on Canadian businesses and manufacturers to help fight the spread of COVID-19 through Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry, which was announced on March 20. This measure is designed to create pathways to deploy resources to domestic manufacturers and businesses so they can help during this critical time, with a focus on domestic capacity building, innovative solutions and procurement of essential supplies.
The plan introduces new measures to directly support these businesses to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products made in Canada that will help in the fight against COVID-19. These products could include critical health and safety supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products and disease-tracking technology.
“Since the outset of this crisis, my team has connected with thousands and thousands of businesses across all sectors in Canada. Companies are already stepping up, like Dillon’s and the Spirit of York distilleries, who have shifted their production to hand sanitizers,” says Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “We have a world-class industrial base in Canada and today I’m asking them to come forward and let us know where they can help. Our objective is to increase domestic supply, so that we have Canadian solutions ready to protect and support Canadians.”
“To ensure we have left no stone unturned, we published a call to action for suppliers on buyandsell.gc.ca last Thursday. We’re inviting companies to fill out a simple form to provide information on their goods or services, including the quantities they have in stock,” said Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement. “The [COVID-19] situation is fluid and evolving rapidly. Our goal is to be over prepared. We are planning for the future by considering both current and anticipated needs, as much as possible.”
Updates have also been made to the travel restrictions currently in place. Exemptions to the air-travel restrictions will apply to foreign nationals who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home. Travel by these individuals will also be considered essential travel for land-border restrictions, which came into effect at midnight on March 20. These exemptions include temporary foreign workers and are expected to be in place sometime this week.
Beyond these national travel restrictions, some provinces and territories have begun threatening increased measures to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
Saskatchewan has threatened returning travellers with $2,000 fines if they don’t self-isolate for 14 days. Alberta has announced plans to introduce similar fines and the Northwest Territories has even banned non-essential travel into the territory.